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Old Feb 13, 2013, 07:51 PM   #1
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Build my own computer + tablet vs. Surface Pro vs. upgrade 2012 MBA

My budget is roughly around $1000-1500. My wife and I share a MBA and we're both in college. I still have my 3 year old Samsung laptop but it's showing it's age. I'm in school for programming. Here are my choices:

1. Build my own computer and get a tablet. I've already pre-picked the stuff that I want in my computer and it totals aruond $1000. I would then buy a tablet(iPad or Nexus 10) so I can have something on the go since my desktop is obviously not portable. The desktop would easily be the most powerful and allow me to upgrade the parts when I can.

2. Buy the Surface Pro and then I'd have no need for a tablet since the Surface Pro is already in tablet form. The price would be around $1200 after buying a keyboard to go with the Surface Pro but it has a subpar battery life even though it's not a huge issue for me.

3. I have the base 2012 13 MBA and I'd upgrade the SSD to a 240gb OWC SSD drive. By upgrading, I have enough room to bootcamp Win 7 or 8. I then would get an iPad, Nexus 10, or an iPad and iPad Mini for my wife.

4. Just throw a Samsung SSD drive into my old computer and use that until I finish college(Fall 13 semester) and get a tablet. This would save me the most money in the short term.

I'm so torn between these options. I'm really leaning to taking the Surface Pro option off because the 128gb one is hard to find and. No matter what, I do want a tablet to go along with a new computer or upgrading my laptops.

Thanks for the replies in advance!
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Old Feb 14, 2013, 01:44 AM   #2
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I think depends on what you plan on doing on your computer as well as how "expendable" that $1,000-1,500 really is.

Unless you're already working, have a job already lined up after graduation, or really have that money in excess to blow, I would feel uncomfortable making that kind of investment while still in school if you're going to be graduating this year.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 04:57 PM   #3
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If you made it this far with that computer setup, wait until AFTER you graduate before making big decisions like this. I'm also in college (1 year behind you). I'm a CE major so I take lots of programming classes too. Personally, I would not get a Surface Pro. In general, it's a very compromised experience. For programming uses, it's simply terrible. I only mention this because you mentioned programming in your OP and I'm assuming that means you're a CE, CS, etc. type of major. I write code in both Windows and Linux/UNIX environments. The Surface Pro is suited for neither. Visual Studios (the mainstay in Windows world programming) runs well but it's a terrible experience when writing code. Especially debugging WinForm-based apps.

Personally, I'd just get a laptop if I were you. I would just pick up another MBA so that you and your wife both have a computer each. And maybe get a tablet for use around the house. Building your own computer doesn't save that much money and exposes you to dealing with a bunch of different warranties if something goes wrong. I did this once to learn and honestly, computers haven't changed much since. It's still the same stuff, just newer/faster/efficient/etc.
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